All posts by reneeinnd

Garden Surprises

We didn’t grow butternut squash this year. I was delighted  when our neighbor offered us a butternut from her garden.  She thought she planted cucumbers, and was horrified and deeply disappointed when they turned out to be squash. Our neighbor is German-Russian, and the German-Russians here are mad for raw cucumbers in the summer.  The squash were truly a tragedy for her.   We certainly enjoyed the squash at Thanksgiving.

A Lutheran pastor friend of mine  operates a market garden with his family.  They planted what they thought was a very long row of onions, but what turned out to be leeks.  Lots of leeks. They were not familiar with leeks, and live in the only area of ND where there were sufficient rains this summer to insure a vigorous leek crop.  They were at a loss to know what to do with them. He asked me too late to take any off his hands.  They didn’t sell.  I love leeks, and was sad.

We haven’t had too many garden surprises or any other surprises for a while.  I hope I plant spinach this summer and don’t get gourds.  I hope I am surprised by mild weather and sufficient rain.

 

When have you been surprised?

 

 

Downsizing

In approximately three years I will retire, and Husband and I plan to move to Brookings, SD.  We have much to do before we can move, including some updates to our current home to make it easier to sell.   We also have to get rid of many things we have accumulated over the years.  This includes hundreds of books.

I got some really good boxes from work last week, and started filling them up with books.  This was a strangely poignant activity. I only chose books I considered mine, as I don’t know which of his Husband intends to keep.  I started with the ones I had purchased most recently. These were mainly books I bought for pleasure reading, not the professional ones I keep in my office at work.   There also were books that  my parents had in their home for years. Some were college textbooks from when they were at Mankato State in the early 1940’s.   I tossed a few of those, but not without wistful regret.  I hadn’t looked at them in years, and I suppose I kept them as reminders of my parents and of my childhood.   It occurred to me that this task was going to be more difficult than I imagined, since we have associated emotions with many of these books.

When we have had uncertainty, instability, or grief in our lives, we seem to have relied on our books as anchors.  I think that is why we bought so many over the years instead of going to the library.  They provided such comfort.  Our life is much different now, and we really don’t need the comfort of all of those books.

We decided to keep history books and books concerning natural history and flora and fauna (including a book on wolves by a certain Baboon).   There are other, one of a kind books, that we intend to keep, as well as cookbooks.   Most novels will go, unless they are particularly beloved.  All children’s books will be kept.  The World Book Encyclopedias from 1966 are going to the landfill.  Husband perused the philosophy and religion collection at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and feels confident he can get what he wants through interlibrary loan via SDSU’s  library system. He already figured out how to apply for a guest users library card.

We intend to take our time with this project.  We have a couple of years to do it.  Our local library has a second hand bookstore, and we are donating our books there.  They may need to expand their space by the time we are done.   I just hope we can limit our book purchases in the meantime.

What can’t you live without?

 

Whispering

Today’s post comes from Ben.

The final project in the English class I’m taking, “Critical Reading and writing 1” is to create a research paper on a topic of our choosing. We’ve written three other papers based on material we’ve read in class. The entire class to this point was mostly learning how to properly use commas, quote marks, how to attribute a quote, how to add citations to a paper, all that stuff you need to get a college level research paper done right.

I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things going in. What I’ve learned is just because I can do it doesn’t mean I know the rules and knowing the rules is harder!  English is hard! I only whined about that once or twice to the teacher. She’s been great. I knew her before the class and knew I would like her as a teacher so that’s all been good.

For my research paper, I choose to write about whispering. This came up because our daughter speaks really loud. I mean it makes my ears ring sometimes.

But it’s not that simple. I talked with an ENT doctor from Mayo. I spoke with a professional opera singer and I interviewed a speech pathologist.  The fact we can speak at all is pretty amazing! There’s a lot going on in making a “voice”. But loudness has to do with how much air you’re moving (and that comes from your “Pelvic Floor”) and it has to do with intonation and resonance and it all gives your voice a tone or pitch.

AND THEN, the speech pathologist said he didn’t think our daughter spoke that loud. Huh! So now ‘Loud’ is relative. Loud compared to what? I looked up that the average speaker is about 60dBA’s. A quiet room is about 40dBA. A lawn mower is about 85-90dBA. (And those are all rather subjective too). And using an iPhone app, she does speak about 60dBA. But the rest of us in the house don’t talk that loud. So I guess she’s only loud “in comparison”. And it’s loud when you’re in a quiet restaurant and the lunch rush is over.

I’ve learned a lot and it’s been interesting. It’s just not that simple. And I guess really, I just need to be grateful she can communicate at all.

Got anything to say about your voice?

I Shouldn’t Say This, But . . .

Today’s post is from Steve Grooms.

They say confession is good for the soul. But, then, “they” say a lot of things that aren’t true.

I’m more inclined to think that a little confession can be a little good for the soul. I have stuff in my past that I could admit to, but wild horses couldn’t drag that out of me. I also have tiny things I can confess without getting me thrown in jail or embarrassed.

The StarTribune recently ran a column that invited people to make small confessions. Many did. I can’t find it now, but they were of this sort: “I don’t care how many times the name is changed officially, it will always be Camp Snoopy for me.”

Some readers made their small confessions and then said they felt better about themselves. If making many such confessions could make me feel better, I’ve got enough questionable stuff to confess that I should be able to make myself love myself.

But in the spirit of confessing to small but wrong ideas, I’ll get things started with a confession that will probably provoke outrage with some Baboons. I like the best hydroponic tomatoes better than “real” homegrown tomatoes.

I used to assume homegrown tomatoes were incomparably better than the things we can buy in stores. Then I got a bunch of “real” tomatoes grown by a friend in Port Huron. They did not—to me—test much better than the best hydroponic supermarket things, and they kept far better. My “real” tomatoes went soft and foul on me within days of being picked. Meanwhile the hydroponics in my fridge tested great almost two weeks after I bought them. I’ve had this experience before. So, with some guilt, I admit to preferring those store-bought hydroponics that have such an awful reputation.

I’ve got more, but perhaps that will do. What about you?

Do you have anything to confess?

 

 

501 Jeans

My husband is a pretty finicky fellow, and has definite preferences regarding the clothes he wears.  He has been somewhat distressed lately after futile searches for his favorite jeans-Levi’s 501 jeans. Those are the ones with the button fly.  I have no idea why he prefers them, but there it is.

He has had trouble finding the size he needs  as well as the colors he wants.  His secret worry has been that they are no longer being manufactured,  and that he will have to find a new style and brand of jeans to wear.  This makes him feel as old and as out of date  as the Dodo. It is as though he can still imagine himself as a young man  at U of Wisconsin when he wears those jeans with his Frye boots.

He was delighted this weekend to find some on-line.  He tends to shop in stores instead of on-line, and our choices out here are limited.  Now his youthfulness  is preserved, and he can go forward into his mid 60’s with confidence.

What keeps you feeling young?  What do you fear will go out of production?

The Best Laid Plans

I have written before about a friend of mine at work who is delightfully  goofy and funny. She loves to play practical jokes on people, and she recently told me about one that didn’t go quite the way she had planned.  She has a bit of guilt about this one.

Several year ago, my friend somehow obtained a  realtor’s sign advertising an open house.  In the dark of the night, she planted the sign in the front yard of a couple with whom she was friends. The next morning, the wife of the couple was awakened by people wanting to view the home for the open house.  She was, understandably, perplexed.  My friend was not aware that the couple was having serious marital problems. When the woman  saw the sign, she immediately jumped to the conclusion that her bastard of a husband was trying to sell the house out from underneath her.   No amount of denial on his part would satisfy her outrage.  When she vented to my friend about the incident, my friend confessed all, but the woman wouldn’t believe her.  The couple eventually divorced.

When have your plans not worked out?

 

Phishing

The deadline for renewing our State psychology licenses looms large this week. Husband and I sent in all our papers and fees for renewal a couple of weeks ago.  Imagine Husband’s surprise yesterday when he received two  notifications from “Google ” telling him that he had better renew his license immediately, along with a link to do so.

I am happy to report that Husband didn’t fall for this apparent phishing attempt.  He had already received confirmation from  our Psychology Board office that everything was in order, and that any communication from the Board was directly from the Board, not from Google.  I contacted the Board office to report this scam attempt.

It amazes me how clever scammers are. It also surprises me how easy it is to fool people. Our State Government IT office sends State employees fake emails at work to try to teach us to spot suspicious communications, and a special button to click to report an email as either fake or suspicious.  It is pretty easy to spot them, I think.  Our agency IT guy told me, though, that 50% of the fake emails are actually opened by staff who don’t suspect a thing or are too trusting.  That is a big concern given how devastating it would be to have our system, with all our clients’ confidential information hacked or compromised.

I hope none of my fellow psychologists are duped by these phishers.  It is an anxious time around the renewal period, and anxiety makes it hard to be wise sometimes.

What are your experiences with scammers or hackers?  How do you keep yourself safe?